The Economic Growth of Democratic and Non-Democratic Regimes

Democracy is an important political concept that supports the participation of the public in a country's decision-making processes. Democratic countries uphold the essence of the representing the citizens in discussions of public interest. For this reason, democratic countries realize significant economic growth and development since democracy supports the equitable distribution of resources among the citizens. Notably, democratic regimes consider the distribution of resources, as well as facilities as crucial towards the acceleration of economic growth. The resources that facilitate the provision of public health services, as well as education, play a considerable role in fostering economic growth in democratic countries (Barr, 2012). The protection of property rights is also a common attribute of economic policies in democratic countries which leads to growth.

Conversely, non-democratic countries lack the participation of the citizens in matters regarding their wellbeing. The authoritative leaders in non-democratic countries limit citizens from airing their views on issues such as economic growth. Notably, non-democratic countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo and Iraq among others have recorded insignificant economic growth since the authoritative leaders uphold their interests over that of the greatest majority, the subjects. For this reason, a considerable number of non-democratic countries lack adequate and quality public health services, as well as education which are key triggers of economic growth. Nonetheless, the suppressions created by authoritarian regimes also have the potential of bolstering economic prosperity amid the existence of some limitations (Haggard " Kaufman, 2012). For instance, state autonomy is considered a strength that authoritarian regimes apply to foster economic growth. In this concern, this paper uncovers the factors that trigger economic growth in both democratic and non-democratic regimes. 

Factors that Bolster the Economic Growth of Democratic Regimes

An array of factors account for the desirable economic growth realized in democratic countries. In this respect, it is considerable to identify the factors that account for economic acceleration in democratic political systems. Notably, the factors that trigger economic growth in democratic countries range from the protection of rights to the need for observing accountability.

Notably, democratic countries uphold the essence of protecting the rights and privileges of the masses compared to the case of countries governed by authoritarian regimes. The higher degree of rights in democratic countries bolster economic growth and development in an array of ways (O'neil, 2015). In particular, democracy encourages economic liberalization which is important for creating an environment that protects the rights and freedoms of the various parties involved in income-generating activities. For this reason, the free markets in democratic economies lead to significant levels of competitiveness that account for economic growth.

Democracy supports the protection of property rights in an economy. In this respect, citizens in democratic regimes have the right to own property and thus, accumulate wealth. The accumulation of wealth goes a long way in fostering a country’s GDP and thus, bolster economic growth. Furthermore, the protection of property rights by democratic economies facilitates the redistribution of wealth in the population thereby fostering economic equalities (Haggard " Kaufman, 2012). Importantly, the redistribution of wealth in democratic countries ensures that the less privileged in the society also acquire resources that could foster their empowerment. Consequently, the redistribution of wealth contributes to the reduction of the opening between the rich and the poor in an economy.

On the other hand, non-democratic countries undermine the rights and freedoms of the citizens to the extent of discouraging economic liberalization. Notably, the vested interests of authoritative leaders prompt the establishment of limitations that discourage private investors from conducting business freely. Consequently, the imposition of trade barriers limits investors in the population from injecting funds in the economy in a way that would build employment opportunities besides raising the living standards of the people (Ethier, 2016). For this reason, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has realized insignificant economic growth over the years owing to the establishment of trade barriers in the business environment. The authoritarian nature of the governance in the country characterizes the economy with complex regulations ha make I difficult for investors to inject heir capital in the economy.  Furthermore, the wide range of overlying administrative agencies, as well as the lack of capacity to enforce regulatory provisions in the business environment has seen the DRC among other authoritarian countries create unnecessary trade barriers that undermine economic growth. 

The politically advantaged section of the population that upholds democracy is usually the largest in the economy.  As such, the largest population participates in the creation of policies that facilitate the protection of property rights, as well as the redistribution of resource thereby, benefiting the economic well-being of the majority.  Furthermore, the politically advantaged majority focus on the removal of barriers that inhibit private investments in the economy (Bunce " Wolchik, 2010). For instance, legislations that seek the removal of negative incentives in the economy and thus, bolster the establishment of direct incentives that would foster the realization of positive economic outcomes. Conversely, in most cases, autocrats consider redistributing economic resources to themselves but, not to the majority of the population.

The significant level of power dispersion in democracies inhibits the protection of rights in the society. In this respect, democratic regimes undermine the possibility of individual actors to establish policies that safeguard their interests (Haggard " Kaufman, 2012). For instance, democracies require the representatives of the majority to take part in the decision-making processes that lead to the establishment of policies that favor economic improvements. Furthermore, the multiplicity of state institutions in democracies undermines the possibility of single individuals to enforce systems that act in their favor at the expense of the majority. For instance, developed governments in democracies ensure that the entire population realizes economic benefits at the grassroots level. Therefore, the bottom-up approach of economic development in democratic regimes fosters the protection of property rights in a way that facilitates the equitable redistribution of resources unlike in the case of autocratic regimes.

Democracies ensure that leaders engage in practices that demonstrate accountability.   The demonstration of accountability goes a long way in safeguarding the interests of the majority over the interests of the individual political leaders. In his view, the establishment of economic policies in democratic nations usually seeks to facilitate the realization of the interests of the subjects in the form of growth and development (Bunce " Wolchik, 2010). As mentioned earlier, the protection of property rights in democracies denotes the extent to which democratic regimes pursue the redistribution of wealth among the greatest majority in the society. Therefore, the political advantage of the majority in democracies positively influences economic growth since the leaders execute actions that show their accountability in handling public resources.

 Conversely, dictators usually express their accountability to a few elites instead of the subjects. The concentration of power among a few elites in autocratic regimes undermines the need for upholding the interests of the majority of the population. The self-interest approach in authoritarian nations is detrimental since it undermines investments in human capital, as well as the protection of private property rights. Furthermore, such administrative regimes undermine the production of goods in the industrial sectors and thus, undermine economic growth owing to the selfishness of the dictators (O'neil, 2015). In this regard, the lack a significant degree of accountability in authoritarian regimes undermines economic growth compared to the case of democratic political structures.

The existence of accountable institutions in democratic countries plays a considerable role in bolstering economic growth and development. Importantly, the effectiveness and efficiency of government agencies in democratic nations ensure the successful implementation of policies that create a conducive environment for business (O'neil, 2015). For instance, the ministries of trade in democratic countries ensure that the players in the economy observe the required rules and regulations that bolster fair competition. As a result, the unbiased implementation of policies in democratic economies ensures that the majority in the economy benefit from the opportunities presented in the free markets.

Democratic regimes that have leaders that hold political power for an extensive terms record significant economic growth and development compared to the case in autocratic regimes. Important to note, large coalitions characterize democracies which motivates political leaders to act in the best way that denotes their interest to the masses (Ethier, 2016). As such, the need for political survival influences democratic leaders to establish measures that foster the protection of property rights which is an important move towards the enhancement of growth and development in the economy. The extensive reigns of democratic leaders ensure that they consistently and continually engage in the establishment of projects that facilitate the improvement of the country's economic well-being. In this respect, democratic regimes that have one political leader ruling for a period of a least ten years tend to realize significant economic growth compared to short-term leaders. The aspect of continually developing policies that seek to empower the citizens economically has the potential of bolstering economic growth in the long-run.

The dispersion of authority in democratic regimes favors the embracement of technological change in the economy in a way that bolsters economic growth. Notably, technological change in an important factor that influences economic growth and thus, embracing it is crucial towards facilitating the attainment of positive results in an economy (O'neil, 2015). The hierarchies in democratic political structures employ technology to the extent that uncovers its importance in bolstering progressive outcomes in the society. Furthermore, the adaptability of democracies to various changes facilitate the adoption of technological innovations that have the potential of improving the economic wellness of the population. Therefore, the political and economic dynamism of democratic authorities enhances the prosperity of the population since adapting to environmental changes is key towards the realization of growth.

Factors that Account for Economic Growth in Dictatorships

Important to note, non-democratic regimes also have the potential of establishing structures that bolster economic growth and development. The various suppressions created by authoritarian regimes could impact the economy positively and thus, enhance the well-being of the population. In this respect, looking at the various factors that trigger economic growth in autocratic regimes amid the existence of various forms of limitations is relevant in the context of this paper.

In most cases, autocratic leadership systems overwhelm the freedom of association in a way that undermines the independence of unions. The absence of stable and autonomous unions in dictatorships results in a substantial decline in wages. Furthermore, capital owners assume a greater proportion of the entire production thereby, subjecting laborers to a degree of discrimination (Bunce " Wolchik, 2010). In this respect, the owners of capital realize greater savings from the raised income they acquire in economies that lack strong and autonomous unions. The notion that increased savings lead to heightened investments applies in this case. As such, the limitation of the freedom of association in non-democratic countries offers the elites the opportunity to allocate their savings in substantial projects that have a positive influence on the status of the economy.

The lack of political accountability in autocratic regimes has the potential of bolstering economic growth. Notably, the inexistence of free and fair elections in non-democratic nations discourages leaders to direct resources towards the satisfaction of instantaneous public consumption over the national budget. In its place, most autocratic leaders prioritize the allocation of resources to investments in the economy. The investments usually disregard the interest of the “myopic” electorates at the expense of the financial interest of the dictators (Bunce " Wolchik, 2010). Nonetheless, the massive investments in the economy by dictators may lead to significant economic growth amid benefiting only a few elites in the entire population. The mentioned aspect of economic growth is questionable since it only benefits the minority. However, the positive economic impacts of such investments could be felt in the entire population.

The autonomy of authoritative regimes plays a considerable role in bolstering economic growth. Notably, dictatorships reinforce the autonomy of the state i9n comparison to democratic states. For this reason, it is less likely for other parties to interfere with the interests of the dictators in the non-democratic territories. For instance, it is less common for international financiers to exploit authoritarian states owing to the strength of their autonomy. For this reason, the autonomy reinforced by autocracy has seen the desirable economic performance of the Asian Tigers (Ethier, 2016). In this light, the capacity of autonomous states plays a considerable role in bolstering economic growth in non-democratic regimes since leaders concentrate on the effective and efficient implementation of developmental projects. Furthermore, state autonomy in non-democratic regimes insulates the economy from particularistic pressures that usually emerge from large institutions, as well as unions. In this respect, the autonomy of the state in authoritarian political systems plays an integral role in mitigating economic slowdown arising from particularistic interests.


Democracies, as well as autocracies, have the potential of promoting economic growth through different dimensions. The notable ways in which democratic regimes bolster economic growth include the protection of property rights, and the redistribution of resources, as well as the need for accountability, On the other hand, authoritarian regimes realize economic growth through the befits brought about by the various forms of suppressions, as well as state autonomy. In this respect, the development approaches of democratic and autocratic leaders have the potential of fostering the attainment of growth in the economy amid the challenges experienced by the two political systems.


Barr, N. (2012). Economics of the welfare state. Oxford University Press.

Bunce, V. J., " Wolchik, S. L. (2010). Defeating dictators: Electoral change and stability in competitive authoritarian regimes. World Politics, 62(1), 43-86.

Ethier, D. (Ed.). (2016). Democratic Transition and Consolidation in Southern Europe, Latin America and Southeast Asia. Springer.

Haggard, S., " Kaufman, R. R. (2012). Inequality and regime change: Democratic transitions and the stability of democratic rule. American Political Science Review, 106(3), 495-516.

O'neil, P. H. (2015). Essentials of Comparative Politics: Fifth International Student Edition. WW Norton " Company.

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